Another walk down memory lane today...
One year ago today, I left the kids at home with Dave and drove to Strathmore (30 min. drive) for my regular prenatal appointment. I was glad to have some alone time in the van, to listen to music, to just be quiet...We assumed that we wouldn't learn anything new about the ultrasound, that he would know just as much as we did.
As I walked into one of the rooms, I saw my Doctor sitting at the desk - looking at some papers. And he looked so very serious, and almost distraught. It was like he didn't want to be there.... And I knew in an instant that he was looking at our ultrasound results. I think I had started to say something like "yeah - that was a tough ultrasound or something" and before I knew it I was sitting and he was saying to me "I'm so sorry. It's the brain." Those words hit me like a ton of bricks. And then I think I said "But I asked about the brain - she said it was fine. I thought it was her heart." I was so stunned by what was happening...
I felt like I was stuck in some horrible dream. On all the previous visits, I had walked in there, chatted with my doctor about the weather, our kids, everything else - then we heard the heart beat, checked my BP, and I went home...Wasn't that the way this was suppossed to happen too?
Instead I was having a conversation about the anatomy of my baby's brain. And about an obviously enlarged area which indicated serious problems in development. He said the left hemisphere of the brain was enlarged - and not draining fluid properly. Or maybe he used the word ventricle - and I wondered if that's why I had thought the technicians were talking about her heart? To this day I still can't remember. It might be in that stack of papers that I can't bear to go through....But I couldn't wrap my mind around it that day. It didn't make sense to me. I kept asking him about the other things I thought were wrong - the heart and other organs. (the report said that they were having trouble placing them) I was afraid of missing my chance to ask questions but at the same time - I couldn't comprehend his answers.
He tried to encourage me saying that sometimes these things turn out to be nothing. He gave me an example of a couple that had divorced after receiving similar news - the husband wanted her to abort and she refused. In the end the child was born healthy. He gave other examples and knowing our faith - he knew that we would choose to continue this pregnancy. He wanted to encourage us in this. Because we couldn't see the ending yet...
And I clung to those stories. I somehow managed to walk out of the doors and into the van. And then I called Dave on the cell phone. I remember trying very hard to stay calm and barely getting out the words, "Dave it's the brain." I still cry now when I remember that morning. Dave remembers too what it was like to hear me say those words. It was such a beautiful clear day....and when I got out of Strathmore, I started crying and I didn't think I could stop.
I had worked with special needs adults before - and I think that experience made me less afraid of having a child with disabilities. And I wasn't naive about pregnancy - I knew there was always a possibility of having a child with special needs. But hearing these words was another thing altogether. I felt so completely unprepared for what might be ahead. Of course, how could I even prepare for something like this? And it's not like I could research a certain syndrome on the computer....and I would have if I could. I tried to remind myself that I was jumping ahead to all the 'what if's before really knowing and seeing my own child. But it was so very hard.
That was January 8, a year ago. It would be another difficult wait - another week and a half before we got the rest of the news. I remember sending out an email to a wider group of friends that day. And I remember feeling like I was being held up by strength that was not my own. I know some would say what I was feeling was 'shock'. I really believe it was more than that. I am not sure I have ever experienced something like it. I knew that so many people were praying...and I knew that God was with us.
Thank-you. Thank-you for praying for us in those early days.